Daily 49er

Long Beach hosts Pepperdine Thursday after long break

The 49ers are back in action after 10 days of rest.

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Long Beach hosts Pepperdine Thursday after long break

Redshirt senior forward Temidayo Yussuf drives to the basket against Southern Utah Dec. 5

Redshirt senior forward Temidayo Yussuf drives to the basket against Southern Utah Dec. 5

Austin Brumblay

Redshirt senior forward Temidayo Yussuf drives to the basket against Southern Utah Dec. 5

Austin Brumblay

Austin Brumblay

Redshirt senior forward Temidayo Yussuf drives to the basket against Southern Utah Dec. 5

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With finals week coming to a close, Thursday’s 7 p.m. matchup with Pepperdine will be a reward for the Long Beach State men’s basketball team. Coming off 10 days of rest, the 49ers (3-9) used the stretch of time to focus on themselves, starting with finals and getting through the end of the semester.

“They are student-athletes and people forget that this is a pressure time for them,” head coach Dan Monson said.

According to Monson, the team took five out of the last seven days off up until Monday.

“They’re like any student this last week so we try to give them some space and let them get with tutors, get in study groups, that kind of thing,” Monson said.

Long Beach returns to the Walter Pyramid after a two-game road trip where the team suffered losses to Fresno State and Pacific. A key statistic following the team’s last few games have been turnovers, as the 49ers currently average 17.3 per game, fourth worst out of all Division I teams in the country.

“So many of them are off the dribble trying to do too much on our own. We’ve got to trust our teammates, move the ball and make more simple plays,” Monson said.

Led by sophomore guard Colbey Ross, Pepperdine comes to the Pyramid Thursday for its third road game in the last six days. The Waves (6-6) are coming off consecutive losses to Southern Utah and Oregon State. As a team, Pepperdine pushes the ball at a high pace using a combination of young guards behind Ross, who averages 19.8 points and 6.9 assists per game.

So far this season, Long Beach has played at a slower pace than Pepperdine. The 49ers run a lot of its offense through redshirt senior forward Temidayo Yussuf, the team’s clear-cut vocal leader who averages 12.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game.

“One of our strengths is inside, so we want to try to get the ball inside and play inside out,” Monson said.

While Pepperdine might play smaller lineups and push the ball in transition against Long Beach, the 49ers will enter the matchup playing to its strengths and keeping its lineup the same.

“Pacific [used smaller, quicker lineups] and we went opposite and went big to see if they would adjust to us,” Monson said. “We’re gonna be who we are, at least to start the game, and then if they are hurting us with that then we’ll maybe make some adjustments.”

After Thursday, Long Beach will continue its homestand with a 2 p.m. matchup Saturday against Colorado State.

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